When Batman: The Dark Knight was first announced, I couldn't help myself from saying, "Another Batman ongoing? Why? Do we really need this?". And after reading the first issue of David Finch's efforts to both, write and pencil, I still find myself asking the very same questions I did before I ever read a page.
Batman: The Dark Knight continues DC Comics' recent trend of giving talented, high profile artists the opportunity to take over the writing and penciling duties. And with the success that they had with Tony Daniel, this obviously has become more of a financial decision then a creative one. This time, its former Marvel star artist, David Finch being handed the baton, but it doesn't seem as if Finch will be able to make it to the next artist who is in waiting. Meaning, his first issue with arguably, DC's most treasured character, falls flat in execution and emotion.
It's obvious from the opening pages that Finch is attempting to write a Batman story that is very much rooted in the character's "Pulp" roots. We see Bruce Wayne recalling back to the first time that he met, Dawn Golden. Who's Dawn Golden? Good Question, because after reading this book, Dawn Golden is just another rich girl that Bruce is convinced he once "loved". The first let down of the issue is that there is no originality to the story. Basically we have Dawn Golden who has disappeared, and we have Bruce Wayne/Batman going on an obsessed rampage through Gotham, demanding that someone tell him where she is. And the issue ends with Batman standing face to face with the Penguin and his henchmen. That's the issue in a nutshell.
The introduction to the Dawn Golden is something we have already seen, she was a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne. Whoa! settle down David Finch. In addition to that, the flashback in which we see her is extremely clunky, and is very reminiscent of a particular opening scene from a certain Christopher Nolan film. Hmmm? This issue would have greatly benefited from the addition of a co-writer. Finch clearly struggles to write dialogue, everything the characters are saying seems forced, meaning nothing feels like something they would naturally say. An experienced writer who has worked with these characters before would have helped Finch with the dialogue and ultimately the pacing of the story. Also, the issue ends with what I believe is supposed to be a cliffhanger; Batman is in the Penguin's grasp. However, there is no shock value to this ending, meaning that how many times have we seen Batman in this situation? I'll tell you, probably a thousand times, there's nothing new here.
Ultimately, I believe this title's soul purpose for being published is to showcase David Finch, the artist penciling The Batman Universe. And it's apparent from the opening pages that his style very much fits Batman's world. The art style is very much a gothic and gritty tone that compliments the narrative very well. But personally, in no way does the artwork make me appreciate the issue anymore.
Overall, this issue adds nothing new or special to the current continuity in the batman titles, it is composed of things that we have already read, several times over. And the book reads like a law deposition, meaning there seems to be no passion, no enjoyment, or no fun behind Finch's writing, which really kept me from enjoying this issue. On the contrary, I do see the passion and fun in Finch's artwork. While his style may not personally please me, there is no denying the man can pencil with the best of them currently in comics. However, if issue one is any consolation of what's to come, then this book's "Goose was cooked before it reached the oven".
Batman: The Dark Knight #1:
Reviewed by Zach